Tag Archives: Rosauers

Rosauers expansion promises more natural foods, take-out options

19 Aug

View of Rosauers expansion from the southwest, toward area where can and bottle recycling will be situated.

The Hood River Rosauers store must’ve been eating its own inventory, because it just keeps on growing. Opened back in 1969 at 30,000 square feet, the Heights destination is in the middle of an expansion that should take it to just over 50,000 square feet of floor space.

On a recent walking tour, assistant manager Doug Bohn spoke of several new features. The southerly expansion will create room for a bigger Huckleberry’s natural food section, including 48 feet of freezer space — going from 15 doors to 28 doors — and 60 feet more of refrigerator space.

Bohn says Huckleberry’s will also expand its bulk food options.

With such a significant expansion of the natural foods area, I asked company chief executive and president Jeff Philipps if Rosauers has given any thought to spinning off the Huckleberries section into a stand-alone store. The company has one stand-alone Huckleberry’s now, in Spokane.

“We just have the one freestanding store in Spokane, but we’re looking at ways to expand that format in other areas,” he said. “We need larger population density to support that.”

When studying the market area for a store, Rosauers looks inside a radius of 30-40 miles, which would include The Dalles as well as the communities of Binge, White Salmon, Cascade Locks and Stevenson.

The “new” meat department will lose the freezer cases north of the fresh counter. Those cases can be used as refrigerated space, and will be moved south for other product.

New freezer and refrigerator space at the back of the store will support the bakery and deli departments. Driven by customer demand for quick, take-out foods, Rosauers will expand the deli to offer a large olive bar, soups, cooked and take-out pizza, and cases to keep cooked chicken and other deli foods hot.

Foundation work shows where southern wall of expanded Rosauers store will be located, giving more interior space for refrigerated foods.

The beer and wine section will expand as well, to include more local products. Bottle recycling will move to the southwest corner of the store. A new sidewalk provides food access along the south side for residents living to the east of the store, so they don’t have to drive for a carton of milk and some corn flakes.

Philipps says the project is costing about $2.4 million, and the company is trying to hire as many local contractors as it can.

That’s just one aspect of its sustainability thinking. There’s another major addition under consideration. The Buzzer is excited to share that news with you, but told Philipps we would wait until the company firms up plans, probably within a couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

Maybe the best news for those of us who like to chat with our checkers, the company is not — I repeat, NOT — thinking about installing self-checkout lanes, like Safeway has done.

“We value the customer experience, and want to interact with the customer to make sure they’ve had a pleasant experience,” Philipps says. “And the only way to get that is one-to-one.

“At a certain point in time, you have to focus on who you are and what you stand for.”

Bravo.

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What would YOU do for a nickel?

8 Jul

Bless the Hood River Valley Leos Club, for saving us from the back half of Oregon’s vaunted bottle bill.

Yes, we love paying the nickel deposit per can or bottle, to incent ourselves to keep and return the cans and bottles. But no, we don’t love — a hate, in fact — the task of dragging the sorry pile of bags, clanking and clanging the truth of our beer (“Soda pop,” we tell people eyeing our bags) and more beer (“Bottled water!” we lie) consumption to everyone coming and going at Safeway and Rosauers.

While they pass, on their way to buy more cans and bottles, we insert them one by one by one by one ad infinitum and ad nauseum into machines that 1) are always about to reach capacity on our shift, 2) are always about to break down on our shift, 3) do not take green glass or brown plastic or cans that — whoops! — we purchased at another retailer.

However do YOU keep them straight? Separate bags? Sheesh.

How do you endure the whole ordeal — waiting for repairs, someone to empty the bins, gathering up all the reject containers for the recycling bins at home? I don’t. A couple of years ago, I just gave up and started putting all the cans and bottles in the recycling bins, which was the goal of the bottle deposits. I figured, who cares if I get $6 back for an hour’s agony at the can crusher?

Then I joined the Hood River Lions, and learned about the Hood River Valley Leos Club — a great group of kids that do all sorts of wonderful stuff. Led by Tom Schaeffer, the group had a nuclear brainstorm — take on the job of returning cans and bottles for the deposits. Use the deposit money for good stuff.

Ali Danko, chair of the recycling project, said that since last year, the group has raised more than $4,000, which it has “given to FISH, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Families in the Park, Relay for Life, the middle school music programs, the Lions (4th of July) fireworks fund.”

Now, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first Saturday of every month, the Leos show up at the Rosauers parking lot and gladly take your bags (and bags) of cans and bottles. Mark the date on your calendar. You’ll be glad you did.

Encore Video will head north to spot near Rosauers

29 May

Fresh word from Stephen Ford of Current Commercial that he has inked a deal to site Encore Video — Hood River’s only remaining four-wall video store — in the space formerly home to the Apparel Express.

Owners Sheryl and Alan Herman are shooting for a July 1 opening in the new space. It all hinges on the usual — paint, carpets, moving.

Sheryl tells me she’s got a cool plan to help it happen. They’ll be moving in bits and pieces up to the actual transfer date. But a couple of days before the final move, she’ll roll out a 50% off sale. Can you see where this is going?

“50% OFF! OMG, I’m so there!”

That’s what she’s hoping people think. They come in, walk out with troves of videos, and when they bring them back, it’s to a new store. Voila, the customers have helped move half their pile.

Sharp idea, actually. She’s got a good entrepreneurial streak, compared to the former bozos at Movie Gallery. Coffee and tea and cotton candy for browsers. A deep collection of archival video — old TV shows, classic movies, sports and cartoons. And two of my favorites, a really rich collection of foreign films, and documentaries.

I’ll admit to using Netflix. But I also have the occasional itch to just go in and browse, and not have to wait for the mail. When that mood moves me to Encore, I always come out with something. How many times did I go into Movie Gallery, browse the walls, and leave, disgusted that all I could fine were straight-to-DVD slasher films?

Sheryl says they want to compete on customer service, variety and product quality.

“If you can do that, you can get loyalty,” she says. “A lot of people are forgetting that your customers aren’t an interruption of your day, but the reason you’re there.”

Keep an eye out for 50% off, and help Encore move.